After the fourth day of ballot counting on Friday, it became certain that Republican Dan Newhouse would be Washington’s newest congressman.
Newhouse beat fellow GOP candidate Clint Didier in Washington’s 4th Congressional District in a race that marked the first time in state history that two members of the same party appeared on the fall ballot for a U.S. House seat.
The 4th Congressional District covers Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Moses Lake and much of the central portion of the state.
Didier is a former NFL player and a tea party favorite, while Newhouse is a mainstream conservative. They were seeking to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, who held the seat for 20 years.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, Newhouse was leading 51 percent to 49 percent and was up by more than 3,000 votes out of more than 140,000 cast. It’s estimated there are about 10,000 votes left to count.
Newhouse drew strong support in Yakima County, his home and the district’s largest county. Didier was strongest in rural areas, where his anti-government message was well-received. They split in the Tri-Cities.
Newhouse is a farmer from Sunnyside and a former state legislator and director of the state Department of Agriculture. He picked up most of the establishment endorsements in the race, including nods from Hastings and the National Rifle Association. His father, Irv, was a powerful GOP legislator. During the campaign, Newhouse said he would protect Social Security and use common sense to balance the budget and cut government spending.
The state initiative aimed at lowering class sizes increased its lead on the fourth day of ballot counting.
The Washington secretary of state’s website reported Initiative 1351 leads by 9,172 votes.
After Tuesday’s count, the measure was behind by about 12,000 votes. By Thursday’s count, it took the lead by 4,660 votes.
The measure is leading in only two Eastern Washington counties: Spokane and Asotin.
I-1351 would set maximum class sizes in kindergarten through third grade at 17 students in most classrooms and 15 children in schools in low-income areas. Classes in the fourth through 12th grades would have fewer than 25 students per class, or 22 in low-income schools.
District Court judge
Attorney Aimee Maurer almost certainly will be Spokane County’s newest judge.
Maurer expanded her lead over incumbent Spokane County District Court Judge Randy Brandt on Friday for the third straight day.
She now leads Brandt by more than 3,600 votes. She was leading by 1,700 votes after Tuesday’s count.
Although the elections office has more than 13,000 ballots left to count, Brandt would need more than 60 percent of those votes, and since nearly a third of all county voters have opted not to make a choice in the race, there aren’t enough ballots for Brandt to have a realistic chance for a comeback.
A Spokane County judge hasn’t lost a re-election bid since 1990.
Airway Heights fire levy
The Airway Heights Fire Department’s emergency medical services levy fell further behind in Friday’s results, dropping to 57.5 percent. The levy requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass. About 100 ballots are left to count from Airway Heights.
The Spokane County Elections Office does not plan to release new numbers until Wednesday.